Deadly California Wildfire Marches East; Mass Evacuations Ordered Amid State Of Emergency

A fast-moving wildfire in Northern California surged towards major residential areas early Friday after killing two people and destroying dozens of buildings, prompting local emergency officials to issue urgent evacuation warnings for residents of Redding and surrounding areas, reports the New York Times

Dry conditions and triple-digit temperatures added fuel to the fast-moving blaze, known as the Carr Fire, as it marched eastward, swept over the Sacramento River and pushed into the outskirts of Redding, the largest city in the region. A firefighter with the Redding Fire Department and a privately hired bulldozer operator, who was helping fight the blaze, were killed, the authorities said. Several firefighters and civilians have also suffered injuries. -NYT

“This fire is extremely dangerous and moving with no regard for what’s in its path,” said Bret Gouvea, California Department of Forestry incident commander for the Carr fire.

State officials issued mandatory evacuations for the cities of Summit and Shasta Lake, which lie about seven miles northwest of Redding and have more than 10,000 combined residents. Those living near the Shasta Dam on the Sacramento River were also ordered to leave. 

The Carr fire scorched 16,000 acres overnight - bringing the total affected area to 44,000 acres. The blaze was 3% contained on Friday morning, down from 6% Thursday night. 

“Tonight it blew up and blew into the city limits of the city of Redding,” Scott McLean, a spokesman for Cal Fire, said on Thursday night. 

High temperatures in Redding of up to 110 on Friday are expected to significantly complicate firefighting efforts, while the weather is not expected to moderate throughout the weekend, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts may reach as high as 25 miles an hour throughout affected areas. 

Fire officials said it was too early to account for the total damage caused by the Carr Fire but said that at least 65 buildings had been destroyed and another 55 damaged. Nearly 5,000 structures in its path were threatened.

. The Dignity Health Mercy Medical Center in Redding said it evacuated five babies in neonatal intensive care units and was prepared to transport other high-risk patients if needed. Dignity Health had also treated eight patients, including three firefighters, with injuries related to the wildfire. But none of the injuries were serious, a hospital spokesman said. -NYT

The fire was started Monday after the "mechanical failure of a vehicle" in the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area," according to the California fire protection agency CalFire. 

This fire is just extremely dynamic,” McLean added. “We really haven’t seen anything like this except for last year on the Tubbs.”

Last year's Tubbs fire tore through Sonoma and Napa counties, killing 22 and destroying over 5,500 structures, making it the most destructive wildfire in California history. 

Aside from the Car fire, several more wildfires are burning throught the Golden State's central and southern regions. 

The Ferguson fire caused the largest closing of Yosemite National Park in 30 years, and the Cranston fire is only 5 percent contained in the San Jacinto Mountains in Southern California.

man suspected of starting the Cranston fire was arrested on Wednesday night and charged with five counts of arson to wildland. -NYT

 Governor Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency on Thursday for both Riverside and Shasta Counties. 

Comments

alexcojones Adolfsteinbergovitch Fri, 07/27/2018 - 16:53 Permalink

Wet spring + dry summer + fire bugs?
I blame Putin - or Trump  

BTW-- I sent this out as a "Guest" column to several daily California newspapers last year when this happened then. NO Responses.

How to Save Homes from Devastating Fires

  Some Simple Solutions Might Save Entire California Communities

Years ago, during the Northridge earthquake, I lived and worked in Santa Monica. I worked in custom cabinetry and also helped restore antiques damaged in that earthquake. At the time, immediately after what is known locally as the MLK quake, a couple of friends were making good money strapping houses to their foundations. How very strange, I thought, that houses were NOT required to be anchored to their foundations BEFORE the quake, in earthquake-prone LA.  Alas, we humans often take decisive measure only after a devastating disaster.

From earthquakes to fires, Southern California is a danger zone. Fifty years before these epic fires, I recall seeing a newspaper photograph of a famous race car driver in SoCal, standing on his roof, battling fiery embers with a garden hose.  Bravery or foolhardy; I do not know, but the image stuck with me

Suppose every house in SoCal had a sprinkler system, plumbed with metal pipe not PVC, running to the rooftop. Water could be stored in a cistern, much like those where the ancient Romans stored theirs. Where would this water come from, you ask? During heavy rainfalls, as occurred last winter, the water would be saved, not lost, not allowed to run down channels into the Pacific Ocean.

Imagine having water in abundance nearby to fight a cataclysmic fire. Hillside houses worth many millions could have such a system designed into it for a fraction of the cost of replacing the structure.  Wealthier clients could have the system run directly from their swimming pools, powered by electricity, along with an emergency, secondary diesel generator.

Middle class neighborhoods like Santa Rosa could have one (or more) large, centrally-located water tank.  Sprinklers could run to the rooftop of every home. Children would sleep safe and stress-free, knowing their home is safe from fire. A state like California, that prides itself on social responsibility, should consider community projects such as these. Taxpayers should have their homes protected, shouldn't they? With billions of dollars to devote to sports complexes and high speed rail projects, certainly a few millions can be found to fight devastating fires that wreck entire communities and destroy lives.

“The word from Santa Rosa officials is that if anyone wants to rebuild, the fees can be as high as $88,000.00,” said accountant Anne Berg. “Also the paperwork will be massive. It’s like rebuilding in a warzone. And who can afford to fork out that kind of money unless insurance pays?”

Thus, wouldn’t preventive measure be in order NOW? Not only would these small, above-ground, emergency water reservoirs serve in a fire emergency, providing rooftop sprinklers for scores of homes, but the freshwater would be there as an emergency in an earthquake. Just like in Switzerland. Because larger earthquakes, like the so-called Big One, with the power to shift fault lines several feet, will break waterlines like spaghetti. Repairs might take several days or even weeks.  Critics may claim that no water can be stored during prolonged droughts but, surprisingly, water can be found for golf courses, car washes and rice production in California.

During Spring break, students could be recruited to clear brush in exchange for free college credits or student loan reduction. An ounce of fire prevention is worth a thousand gallons of water, an old firefighter said to me once.  Brush clearance is prevention. Similar to the old Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC), these kids would be serving their community and having fun and fresh air too. Even old guys like me might volunteer. After all, better that the hills are alive with the sound of music and adolescent laughter, rather than the roar of flames, the stench of death, and the smell of smoke.

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

Westcoastliberal alexcojones Fri, 07/27/2018 - 19:01 Permalink

Nothing wrong with having a plan, however your plan would also require a pump to get the water from the cistern to the roof, and of course electricity to power the pump. 

What really needs to happen is controlled burns during the wet season as they do in Mexico, where you don't hear of wildfires so much. Elitists in Calif would never go for it because NIMBY.

In reply to by alexcojones

Pazuzu alexcojones Fri, 07/27/2018 - 23:07 Permalink

After watching a California Walmart burn from the INSIDE OUT(a steel exterior, sprinkler equipped, concrete floored testimonial to fire regulations and prevention technologies) while surrounded by verdant, unburned woods last year I think the scope of the new annual fires is far fucking beyond what 'pyromaniacs' can accomplish.

But then 19 guys with magic boxcutters changed the world so maybe these pyros hate us for our flammability and our lack of enthusiasm for Agenda 2030.

Directed Energy Movers-"Resettling Californians, West Virginians and Coloradans since 2015!"

In reply to by alexcojones

thisandthat alexcojones Sat, 07/28/2018 - 16:28 Permalink

I've seen something like that decades ago, on a fair here in Portugal - I think it was some frenchies pitching. It was composed of a water tank, a pump and a telescopic vertical raiser with three radial arms and hose heads; arms were bent, which gave them rotation. Essentially it was like a giant telescopic rotating lawn sprinkler, and it would cover a radius of about 20 meters, I think. No doubt it could be scaled up, combined, for larger perimeters, but never heard about it again, anywhere.

In reply to by alexcojones

Lumberjack Adolfsteinbergovitch Fri, 07/27/2018 - 17:50 Permalink

And bad electric grid planning with dangerously intermittent renewables and flawed, flaming wind turbines.

lightning loves wind turbines and they are the cause of a good lot of the fires although there is a newz blackout in Ca and in Canada.

Thought experiment....

Look at photos of lightning striking stationary sky scrapers.

Then know that lightning loves moving objects.

Try fly fishing on a lake during a thunder storm with a 9 foot graphite fly rod sometime to see the effect. 

Then watch golfers flee the links when lightning arrives.

Certainly,  careless campers and Tesla’s are a problem but...the main problem is the electricity related one.

In reply to by Adolfsteinbergovitch

Got The Wrong No HilteryTrumpkin Fri, 07/27/2018 - 17:45 Permalink

HillaryTrumpkins, Listen Fuck Face, we all know you are Mitten is god and that you have at least 3 other ZH posting aliases. Now run along and play your little SockPuppet games at HuffPoo. You embarrass yourself here, but you are too stupid to know that. 

Mittens is god

GoHillary2016

MikeMilkensGhost

HillaryTrumpkins

HillaryPoppins

Try DumbFuck for your next alias.

In reply to by HilteryTrumpkin

Bay Area Guy Endgame Napoleon Fri, 07/27/2018 - 20:38 Permalink

Two have died in the fire near and in Redding.  One was a bulldozer operator trying to build a fire line.  The other was a firefighter.  Not sure how he died.  In the fire near Yosemite, there's been one death.  Again, a bulldozer operator trying to build a fire line overturned and was killed.  There's some God awful terrain these fires are in and it's tough to build the lines.

In reply to by Endgame Napoleon